Friday, 14 June 2013

Book: The Marquis at Midnight by Kate Harper

Book 1 of the Midnight Masquerade.

Grace has been a widow for 18 months, and still misses her husband, Justin, with whom she had a caring and happy marriage, but no children. Her friend, Hester, invites her to London to take her mind off things, and they go to a masquerade at Vauxhall Gardens. At the masquerade, Grace dances with a mysterious and attractive man, only to have him revealed to her that he is the man she holds responsible for her husband's death; Lord Morvyn. Both Grace and Morvyn are consumed with thoughts of each other, though Grace is distracted with the worry over her friend, Hester, who has gambled and lost a family heirloom of her husbands, to the most slippery and shady character in London.

I finally finished this book! Though that is no reflection on how good the book is, its more to do with my short attention span for 'fluffy' romantic reads, which this is. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy the book though, because I did!

The plot was quite basic, there were no real major twists or turns, but with books like the Marquis at Midnight, there doesn't need to be. It's the sort of book that you can read to take your mind off anything serious, because you just know that everything will turn out right in the end, and once you get there the two people who have been falling in love will get together and everyone will live happily ever after. Or at least that is why I read this kind of novel!

The whole story takes place over the course of 10 days, and in most books I would say that that is nowhere near enough time for two people to fall in love, but I honestly didn't feel that with Marquis, and despite both Grace and Morvyn reminding you that it had only been a short space of time, it could easily have represented longer.

The chemistry between Grace and Morvyn was clear, it was leaping off the page! I was impressed that Harper was able to capture that kind of feeling so well through writing, simply because I imagine that it is difficult to achieve. In fact her whole writing of their relationship and their desires was believable and really good. I liked the way that Harper did start by having her characters recognise that it was sexual desire between them, and not love at first sight, though this isn't set in contemporary times, that is a very contemporary idea, and realistic, probably even for the Regency era (its pretty bad that I could only really date this in my head because of my knowledge of French history rather than my native England's!).

One thing that did seem pretty obvious to me, was that it was a female writer, by this I mean that if I didn't already know Harper was a woman I would guess that from the writing, just because she focused more on Grace's desire than on Morvyn's, which I think is a good idea, write what you know and all that.

I read this book in ebook form and so had a dictionary I could access while in book, but if I hadn't I'd think that some of the old-fashioned words, such as bonn, would have annoyed me. They kept popping up every now and again, and though I could have guessed a general meaning from the context, I didn't know what they meant. I'm of two minds whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, after all it adds to the setting of the novel and makes the era more realistic, but at the same time I couldn't understand!

If you're looking for a light, 'fluffy' period romance then this is one for you! I'll be reading the sequels to Marquis, the Maiden at Midnight and the Mistress at Midnight, at some point, though I have a lot to get through first.